Monday, April 7, 2008

downy nest V

Work on the downy woodpecker nest seems to be completed. (See April 3 posting.) The male did most of the excavation with the female making periodic inspections. She seemed more interested in his choice of location than the actual cavity itself. She often flies to the hole, perching just below it. She then looks around in all directions, carefully and, it seems, thoughtfully.

Once she commits and lays her eggs, there's no way to relocate.

The chickadees are still interested in the nest hole but they’re chased away if they get close. For the past two days the most noticeable behavior has been the downies' frequent mating. (Again, I would have averted my eyes to give them a private moment but it was hard not to notice their copulatory zeal.)

Downy expert Gary Ritchison reports that the repeated couplings strengthen the pair-bond and insures successful fertilization. Egg-laying can begin anytime from one to ten days after the nest cavity is completed.

Now we wait.

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